“Hiking, it is so good for one’s wellbeing, it allows you to breathe in good clean air, observe your surroundings with open eyes, listen more carefully and only then will you realise that nature is more alive than you ever thought it to be and your soul awakens and sings in joyous harmony, so put on those walking shoes and walk!”
1st to 3rd May 2015 hiking trip to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve to do the 2 day Boosmansbos hiking trail in the Langeberg Mountains by a group of 12 from the Awakening Intuition Network Hiking group. Thanks to Loraine, my frequent hiking buddy, for once again writing the blog post to go with just a few of my photo’s to help share the beauty of this 2 day hike.
This hike has been on the bucket list for this group of intrepid hikers for quite some time after buying Mike Lundy’s “Weekend trails in the Western Cape”, this was definitely a must and having done just that, certainly one worth doing all over again! There is just so much to see and do in this wilderness area.
If you have ever felt that time sometimes moves a little too slowly because your mind sits in the place where you so much want to be but reality time constantly brings you back to current time, can be a tad frustrating having to wait to get to this place! However, now that the blog is out there, it sadly means that we have accomplished another incredible, breathtakingly beautiful, awesome (words fail me, quite honestly) hike to do in the Western Cape!
Granted, the trip is lengthy from Cape Town, but the approach to everything about this area, really makes it all so worthwhile. Just follow the directions all the way to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve from the N2 passing through Swellendam. The road, however, does become a dirt road, part of the way, should you feel a little wary of such roads, but maintained well. The signage posts guiding you through to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve extremely well marked, no reason whatsoever to find yourself getting lost. The road comes to an end once you arrive at Grootvadersbosch.
This little reserve is, in itself, a little treasure and convinced that you could quite literally park off and spend a couple of days wondering through the forests. It is surrounded by forests on both sides with landscape views of the Langeberg Mountains range allowing your psyche to wind down and slowly grasped the wonders of nature. Spending a couple of days here would actually be a wondrous idea, will put it out there and ask, kindly, for the universe to bring us back to this place soonest!
Day 1 at Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, after arrival
After having arrived just after noon, we hastily set up camp, had a quick bite to eat, could feel the soul tapping those feet to get into walk mode to wonder around, well for those of us wishing to do so, and with so many routes to choose from after acquiring a map of the area, which way should we go? A bird hide seemed like a good idea for a gentle little stroll and with the weather on our side, warm and sunny, off we ambled under the canopies of the forest to the bird hide.
Wanderlust – take us on journeys to feed our souls! And some of us went back for more wonderings later on to more discoveries and yet another bird hide with more pathways, baboons, the lush density of the forest canopy, ferns, and the earthy smells, bird songs, whisperings of the trees, mushrooms, and, quite frankly, in my humble opinion, a true creation of nature! This is it!
But alas, time stops for no man, so back to camp we must go, only to be greeted with yet another master piece, the sun was setting!
Shower time, snack time, drink time, food time, and of course there is always time for story telling and much laughter around the camp fire, and witnessing another amazing sunset to end off yet another day, and the final eventuality, bed time to prepare the body and soul for the days ahead.
Day 2 Next day, early rising at 06:20, there was much to be done before setting off on the day ahead which, of course, included breakfast, disassembling the tents, and packing up everything, ensuring that we all had our wits about us, we were not too sure what to expect. Backpacks ready and assembled, but firstly, a few ground rules were said, attention paid and then off we set, waving farewell to the other campers who wished us well for the hike ahead of us. Probably thinking quietly to themselves, what a bunch of idiots! Not a chance, it is ‘they’ that have no idea what ‘they’ are missing!
Again, we could not have asked for the most perfect hiking weather, albeit cloudy but warm and with cloud cover it does add to the ambience of the landscape with the sun breaking through the clouds providing an array of different light. There was hardly a wind either, so no chill factor. Every upward, windy path offered spectacular views of either the valley below or the vistas of the mountain range in front of us, and the variety of flora and fauna in this region, blooming beautiful. The ericas carpeted slopes of the mountains especially in pink, so utterly beautiful, pink mountains.
The trek up to the mountain shelters took exceptionally longer than anticipated, and although the gradient on the upward section of this 2-day hike was relatively easy, some of us battled, and of course, it was not without its obstacles causing a little anxiety now and again, but on reaching the summit to view the valley, housing Barrydale below, again, out of this world.
However……yes, however, you discover that this is not your final destination for the day, it is not over yet, the path continues on the upward climb. The feet are beginning to feel it, the body is wary, the mind is….somewhere else (who knows where) so onwards we trudge.
The sun began its descend, but the day is still warm and the path is still well marked although it can be disputed that it is certainly not one of the more regular hiking trails in this region, for which we just cannot understand. The path narrows in some sections making it a little nerve wracking, so one has to be cautious and sure-footed in certain spots. The group has now split up into 3 separate groups. The group consisting of Warren, Tania, Marius, Marinda and myself (Loraine), had just reached the protea ‘forest’ as the sun was setting and to see what we all saw…..was enthralling, darn right awesome, the sky is a shade of ochre with a tint of red, lights up the landscape thus creating enough light to continue walking without the aid of a head lamp, and as we reached another crest, the moon had arisen on the opposite side, this was so captivating and enchanting!
We finally, at long last, have sight of the mountain shelters, our abode for the night. 4 walls, and a roof over our heads and a 2 minute walk down to the river for water or to a spot in the bush for some private time. Dinner was interesting but scrumptious and rather interesting to see what others decided on having. (Starters: noodle cup soup, Maine dish: rice with tuna, Pudding: chocolates and hot chocolate) After that morsel of sustenance, it was time to bid farewell to yet another day.
Day 3 Not too sure if much sleep was had by anybody but the sound of a cock crowing (Iain’s attempt of a rooster) was heard at another horrid early morning hour, only to think that Tania was laughing in her sleep, she heard it, got up and told everybody else to rise and shine!
As mentioned earlier, we did not make it to the Magic Forest the day before as a result of time on day 1, which was, to say the least, bitterly disappointing and yet we began day 2’s hike heading towards it! But alas, we abruptly turned around realising that we were heading in the wrong direction and headed back towards the correct path. Up and onward’s.
Once again, blessed with amazing weather, just perfect for the day ahead!
Not too sure about the downhill slog with a back-pack and tender legs, and a lot of loose stones coming down, but what goes up, must come down and quite honestly, the views were still absolutely mesmerising. We stopped for a tea break amongst the bushes of ericas, such a delicate little flower but each bush adorned with a vast amount of petals.
After tea, time to move on, and having just passed the cairn where we were supposed to have taken the path, Vanessa calls us back to tell all that we are heading off in the wrong direction! This is now where the path takes us on the ups and the downs looking at waterfalls, gorges, forests, there is just everything in view here. Looking down into the groove of the gorge below, seemed such a long way down but also gradual and finally down at the river for lunch.
The view from the top overlooked the path heading back towards camp from the river below, was rather deceptive but again a gradual climb up gently, the bodies were starting to tire and still had 3 hours of driving ahead of us too. But we all made it back in one piece although the feet were tender, legs a little shaky, in serious need of a shower, but that would have to wait until we were home.
To quote Arnie “I’ll be back!” This is perhaps the most amazing walk done thus far and with so much to see and do, we will be coming back here even if only to o, but Bosmansbos is a definite – the magic forest is calling.